Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Nike Sues Vince Lombardi’s Estate

BEAVERTON, Ore. (CN) - Nike claims that Vince Lombardi Jr. and his father's estate took $150,000 for licensing rights to an audio recording of a speech by the famous football coach - without revealing that it had no such recording.

Nike wanted to use the speech in an Internet commercial, and says the "mere text" of the speech is useless for that.

Nike sued Vince Lombardi Jr., Susan Lombardi, together dba The Estate of Vince Lombardi, and CMG Worldwide, the exclusive representative of the Lombardi Estate, in Washington County Court.

During negotiations with CMG in 2008, Nike says it asked CMG to send it a contract including specific language licensing the words and the voice recording of the famous Green Bay Packers coach.

Nike says CMG demanded payment for the license when Nike signed the contract. Nike said it agreed, whereupon CMG said it would send an agreement with all of Nike's demands included.

The Nike employee in charge of the negotiation was leaving town for the weekend and told CMG he would sign the agreement right away if it included the requested changes, otherwise the deal would have to wait to close until the following week.

CMG sent Nike the contract the same day and Nike's representative signed it. But despite CMG's representations, the contract did not contain "all the changes Nike had requested," according to the complaint.

"It specifically did not include the requested provision that made payment of the license contingent upon the advertisement running. Instead, CMG added language to the license agreement that Nike and CMG had never discussed - it make Nike's advance payment for the license nonrefundable. Furthermore, CMG did not disclose the fact that the recording of the Lombardi speech did not exist."

Nike demanded a refund, as the script was useless for its ad without the iconic coach's voice. But it says CMG refused.

Nike wants its money back, and damages for fraud, from CMG. It claims that "CMG acted with at least reckless disregard for the truth about the existence of the Lombardi speech recording."

Nike is represented by Jon Stride and David Weiler with Tonkin Torp of Portland.

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